Match Day Reveals Next Phase of Medical Journey for UK Students

Before fourth-year University of Kentucky medical students Kenisha Webb and Tom Muse opened acceptance letters to their medical residency programs, they calculated their odds of landing at the same location. Their letters could show any of 92 possible combinations of medical institutions between the two future doctors who started dating during medical school.

Sharing a podium and stage inside the Keene Barn at Keeneland on March 20, the couple declared they were both destined for Texas A&M University, where Webb, a native of Pikeville, will train to specialize in anesthesiology and Muse, who is from Lexington, will train for a career in general surgery.

"We just want to go somewhere that challenges us to excel," Muse said. "We want to be great physicians and take care of patients."

During the annual Match Day ceremony, graduating medical students in the Class of 2015 continued the tradition of opening their match letters in front of their classmates, families, instructors and mentors. More than 100 students in the class matched with residency programs across the country, at institutions including Yale University, University of California-San Francisco, Case Western Medical Center and the University of Kentucky. About a third of students will remain at the University of Kentucky for residency training. Twenty-two different specialties were represented by the outgoing students, and 38 percent will pursue residency training in primary care, which is defined as internal medicine, pediatrics, combined internal medicine and pediatrics, and family medicine.

For graduating medical students across the country, the National Residency Matching Program (NRMP) has standardized the residency selection process by establishing a uniform date of appointment to residency positions. The NRMP conducts its matches using a mathematical algorithm that pairs the rank ordered preferences of applicants and program directors to produce a “best fit” for filling available training positions.

Dr. Chipper Griffith, the senior associate dean for medical education in the College of Medicine who delivered the envelopes on Friday morning, considers the Match Day ceremony his second favorite day of the academic year. His favorite day is graduation in May, when the students officially receive the title of "doctor."

"What I really love about academic medicine is the rhythm of the school year," Griffith said. "I get to see these students in their first year go through their white coat ceremony, excited to become doctors, and then I get to see them a few years down the road when they are excited to go into their specialties, and it all culminates with Match Day."

MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams, elizabethadams@uky.edu